Govt mulls expanding budget for local councils' tree maintenance needs

PUTRAJAYA: The Housing and Local Government Ministry is considering expanding allocations for public amenities to support local councils' tree maintenance efforts, says Nga Kor Ming.

The minister said this would also include funds to procure new equipment.

“We will study whether we can include maintenance costs and new equipment purchases.

“We are aware that some lorries are in poor condition and we hope to upgrade our equipment,” he told reporters at a ministry function here today.

Nga was responding to a question on the ministry’s plan to overcome financial constraints faced by certain local municipalities in maintaining trees following recent incidents.

On Sunday, the minister acknowledged that the cost to maintain a tree was expensive and some local authorities could not afford to do so.

"From a management standpoint, we will explore solutions, whether through help from the Landscape Department or Local Government Department. We aim to broaden the scope of BP1 allocations for public facilities," he added.

Nga said the ministry would direct funds to municipalities with urgent needs.

"We don't wait. We will distribute funds to local authorities in critical situations, based on their needs," he added.

He also said that a memo has been issued to all local authorities to send their officers to the National Landscape Department for training in arboriculture.

“As I’ve recommended before, all local authorities must have tree inventories and have their own arborists.

“I admit that the implementation and monitoring are still lacking but we are now on the right track to further improving these aspects,” he added.

On May 7, a large tree along Jalan Sultan Ismail in Kuala Lumpur fell onto 17 vehicles during an afternoon thunderstorm, killing a 47-year-old man and injuring two others.
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